The Capitals fell, 4-1, to the Colorado Avalanche in Denver on Sunday night for a second consecutive loss. But even with all the turnovers and quality chances they gave up the scariest moment for the visitors came with 2 minutes 26 seconds remaining in the second period when Alex Ovechkin fell hard into the corner boards.
Ovechkin went into the left corner to play the puck with Colorado defenseman Jan Hedja in pursuit. The blue-liner’s stick caused Ovechkin to lose his edge and slam awkwardly into the boards with Hejda then falling on top of him.
Ovechkin remained on the ice for a concerning length of time but after being tended to by head athletic trainer Greg Smith made his way to the bench and didn’t miss a shift. Once he joined his teammates, though, Ovechkin began barking at the officials for what he believed was a missed penalty call on the play. He was so angry he kicked the boards once he sat down on the bench.
“I think it was a trip. I hit head into boards,” Ovechkin said, gesturing to his right cheek. “I don’t know what the referee doing out there but it was clear two minutes and they just play.”
Coach Adam Oates seemed to absolve the officials for not calling a penalty.
“On video, you have the advantage of video, [Hejda’s] not trying to do anything but his stick-hit Ovi’s skate, so he went in hard.”
Hejda said there was no harm intended on the play and that he didn’t trip Ovechkin, but rather that the winger stepped on the stick blade.
“The stick was on the ice. that’s the first thing. I’m 100 percent that I had the stick on the ice and he steps on my stick. He fell and I fell over him,” Hejda explained. “I can’t say I was going to hit him hard. I was just going to push him on the board.”
It was the second time in the period that Ovechkin was slow to get up. On his first shift of the middle stanza, Ovechkin went down after taking a stick to his midsection. There were a number players — including Avalanche defenseman Nate Guenin and Martin Erat — close to Ovechkin on the play, though, and he didn’t believe it was intentional.
“I just go to the net and I got speared,” Ovechkin said. “I don’t think it was [an intentional] spear, he just have stick like this. But anyway, it’s all about the ref.”
Five thoughts on the loss in Colorado will follow on Monday.